Uber vs Juno: Which Is the Better App to Catch a Ride in NYC?
The ride-hailing space is quickly becoming a crowded one, with scores of apps promising you a lift at the tap of a button.
Juno is one of the newer apps to enter the space. Based in NYC, it started as a company that promised to make drivers the co-owners in the business, offering equity in the company for everyone who came to work for them.
The company has since been acquired and doesn’t quite offer that anymore, but it does boast that it pays drivers better than competitors, and promises the best drivers in the greater New York City area. In this article we’ll look at Juno and compare it to one of the biggest companies in the field, Uber.
What Are Uber and Juno?
How did each of these companies get their start, and what do they specialize in? Here’s some background for each app.
All About Uber
Uber is one of the most ubiquitous ridesharing services in the world and a great success of the modern digital age. The app allows you to hail a ride almost anywhere in the United States and, increasingly, the world.
Uber offers ease of use for smartphone users, in that it allows you to hail a car to your direct location with the touch of a button. You can see how much a ride will cost before you book, see the expected arrival time, and rate and review your driver once the ride is complete.
The company started in 2009, founded by Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp as a disruptor to the taxi business and has aggressively expanded since. It has caused some headaches for cities as it has done so — some cities view it as a welcome disruption and a great service for its residents, others are concerned about loss of revenue (cities charge taxi companies for the right to operate a cab in their city).
All About Juno
Juno is also a ride-hailing service. You download the Juno app, hail drivers, put in a location, and pay and tip with your credit card in the app.
At its start, the service was limited to NYC — Manhattan and Brooklyn — but has since expanded into more of New York and some parts of New Jersey, with plans to expand going forward.
Founded by Viber creator Talmon Marco in 2016 and sold a year later to Gett, the company is pitched as the “socially responsible way to ride.” Juno makes this claim as the company says it pays more money per ride to drivers than competitors Lyft and Uber, boasting 60 to 65 percent lower commissions than the other companies.
Juno was initially founded as a venture that offered drivers equity in the company, a policy that was discontinued when Juno was acquired by Gett, a ride-hailing company originally founded in Israel. Drivers were given “restricted stock units,” or RSUs, provided they worked for the company for over 120 hours a month. When the company was sold, many Juno drivers were disappointed to only get paid out around $100 for the RSUs they had accumulated.
While drivers no longer can get equity in the company, it still boasts lower commission fees than competitors.
Basically, the service gives New Yorkers another ride-hailing option, and perhaps one that will leave them feeling a bit better about where their money is going.
A Comparison Between Uber and Juno
The most obvious difference between the two companies is that a Juno driver can expect to take home more money than Uber drivers typically will per ride. Juno also boasts that it has the highest rated drivers and cars in the city of New York.
For riders, there are several differences. Let’s break them down by category.
For one, Uber gives you a lot of options when it comes to selecting what kind of Uber ride you want, based on what you are looking for regarding price, privacy, amount of people, and car type.
UberBLACK is the black car service that Uber was originally founded upon. The service offers experienced drivers driving luxury sedans and SUVs at a slightly elevated cost. When Uber was first founded, it only offered black car service, but as demand grew they were forced to expand their fleet and start offering UberX service, which quickly became their most popular service. (Lyft has a similar luxury sedan service called Lux for nicer rides.)
UberX is a more affordable option in which drivers can ride in whatever car they like, provided it meets Uber’s requirements for things like safety, mileage, and age. The actual car requirements vary by city, but cars usually must be fewer than 10 years old, be a four-door sedan, truck, minivan or SUV, have seatbelts for at least four riders, including the driver, and must pass a mechanical inspection.
UberPOOL allows you to share a ride with other customers who are heading in the same general direction as you, all for a much cheaper cost than a typical ride because you’ll be splitting it with other riders. If you aren’t in a huge rush, and don’t mind splitting a backseat with someone else for a few minutes, the rideshare service is a good way to get around for cheap.
Here is how Uber looks on an iOS device, and you can see how you can select different types of rides at the bottom:
Juno is a similar app in that it allows you to use your phone to hail a ride to wherever you are and get picked up quickly.
Juno doesn’t have an option like UberX to ride for cheaper, or anything like UberPOOL which allows you to share a ride with other people. (Via is another one of the ridesharing companies that has entered the space in NYC and D.C. that allows you to share a ride with other people going in the same direction as you.)
Ride Customizations and Pricing
One thing that sets Juno apart is that it allows you to make special requests for a more personalized ride. They let you select “Quiet Ride” for riders who don’t like to chat with their driver, or you can make a request that you “Need Assistance” if you need help with luggage, or getting in the car, or anything else. You can also add a note to the driver ahead of time to specify exactly what you need help with, or make any (reasonable) request that you’d like.
Both Uber and Juno allow you to see the cost of rides before you book, pay for rides and tip with your credit card, and both give out ride credits for referrals. (Learn more about Uber referrals and Juno referrals.)
Both also have surge pricing, though Juno calls it “high-demand pricing,” where the base fare of a ride is increased due to either high demand for rides or low supply of drivers. (Uber riders may be surprised to find surge pricing when taking a ride to the airport at 5:00 in the morning…the cost isn’t high because so many riders are trying to hail a car, but rather because there are so few drivers on the road.)
One way that Juno tries to set itself apart from Uber is with its customer service. The company allows you 24/7 access to its customer support staff, giving you the option to talk to a real person on the phone or online at any time. This is a benefit of the smaller scale — Uber isn’t able to offer as quick and comprehensive customer service because it has millions of rides daily. That being said, Uber does allow you to file a report, and if you really need to talk to someone, you can get someone on the phone.
Juno also leans into their responsible riding ethos by offering riders the chance to opt in to a carbon offset program, which helps reduce the environmental impact of your rides by pairing you with green cars, or making small donations to programs which plant trees and do other things to help offset the carbon dioxide put out by the cars’ exhaust.
The biggest difference, of course, is that Juno is only operating in greater New York, while Uber is all over the world. Even in that space, though, Uber’s scale allows it to be quick in a way that sometimes Juno can’t match. There are Ubers all over New York, especially if you don’t mind riding UberX, so while it may take 5 or 10 minutes to get a Juno, odds are you won’t have to wait that long.
Two Ride-Hailing Companies for Different Rides
When evaluating Uber and Juno, it’s about finding what is important to you. If you are located in greater New York and do the majority of your travel in and around the city, feel strongly about carbon offset programs and want to make sure that your drivers are getting paid more per ride, Juno is a wonderful option.
If you live anywhere else, travel a lot, or just like the convenience of being able to choose rides you want for the cost you want at any time, Uber makes a lot of sense. It’s all about what is important to you.
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